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    Building a successful brand for your tourism business


    Your brand defines how you present your tourism business to the world. While it may not seem to have a monetary value on first glance, it can certainly be considered an ‘intangible asset’ for your business. If your brand is poor your business will perform badly. On the other hand, if your brand is healthy and vibrant, it will attract customers, which in turn will generate bookings.

    So how do you go about creating a positive brand for your business?

    A brand comprises a number of elements. According to Sarah Durham, writing on LinkedIn,  these include:

    • A brand strategy
    • Visual elements (logo, colours, type, imagery)
    • Messaging elements (name; tagline; vision, mission and values statements; key messages, elevator pitch)

    Brand strategy

    Every tourism business should have a brand strategy. Your brand strategy should set out your name and tagline, what your brand message is, define your logo and the visual representation of your brand.

    Knowing your customer

    Before you even begin to outline your brand strategy however, you first need to start by understanding your customer. Drawing up customer personas can be a very effective way of generating insights into your target market.

    Customer personas

    Typically a customer persona will be a profile of your target customer including such details as name, gender, age, profession, income bracket, educational background, relationship/family status, likes/dislikes, wants/needs. If you start by drawing up customer personas in this way, you can then ask yourself if the brand name, tagline and logo you have chosen would resonate with the customer persona you have identified.

    Choosing the right channels

    Your brand strategy should also define what channels you want your brand to feature on based on your target market.
    What social media channels are most appropriate for your brand? Should you have a presence on Facebook or Pinterest? Or should you have a presence on Snapchat and Instagram? A sound knowledge of your customer base and their likes and dislikes will help direct you to those channels that will be most beneficial for your brand.

    Touchpoints

    Your brand should not just be confined to your logo and your strapline however, you and your staff should ‘live’ your brand. If your brand vision is to be ‘the most family friendly and affordable 4* hotel in Wexford’, then you and your staff need to demonstrate why this vision is justified with every touchpoint you have with your customers, whether these touchpoints are online, in person or over the phone.

    Refreshing your brand

    From time to time you may wish to ‘refresh’ or update your brand. You can implement a brand refresh by changing your logo, strapline and the colours and visuals you use on your website. However bear in mind that any brand refresh, which indicates that the brand vision and messaging has changed, needs to be demonstrated by actions. Being ‘living ambassadors’ for your brand will prove that you and your staff have succeeded in fulfilling that fresh, new vision for your tourism business.